Four Years of Success and Counting

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Four Years of Success and Counting pp 36-37 As 2012 sales hit a record 275 million dkk (37m eur), the Norðborg continues to prove her worth after four years of operation — with the owners considering to take fish oil for salmon feed to the next level: health food for humans.

The people at Hvalnes — also known as Christian í Grótinum, the Klaksvík-based owner and operator of ‘Norðborg’ — made a bold move a few years ago when they decided to build the world’s most advanced fishing vessel of its kind. A highly versatile pelagic trawler designed for maximum resource utilization, the wonder first arrived in Klaksvík in May 2009, steaming all the way from the shipyard in Chile where she had been built at the price of a whopping 250 million dkk (33.5 m eur).

Four years on, the wisdom of this business idea is becoming clear to anyone who may have questioned its viability at the outset. With sales reaching a record 275 m dkk (37 m eur) in 2012, the vessel is bringing in — on a yearly basis — gross revenues at a value roughly on par with the size of the investment.

Good Hauls

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Good Hauls pp 26-27 In the Faroe Islands, bumper season in pelagic fisheries and salmon farming outshines current decline in domestic groundfish fisheries — while the reopening of old distant-water fishing grounds promises relief for struggling vessels.

With huge amounts of pelagic fish to catch — roughly on par with record breaking quantities fished in 2006 yet more valuable this time around — parts of the Faroese fishing industry are busy like never before. Add a thriving aquaculture sector that has grown at high pace in recent years, making farmed Atlantic salmon the biggest selling product of the Faroe Islands, at an annual 1.8 billion dkk (241.4 million eur), representing 36 percent of total seafood exports of 5 bn dkk (670.6 m eur) in 2012 figures.

Even assuming the export figures for other species were to rise comparatively in 2013, salmon will in all likelihood retain the number one spot. Back in 2007, cod was the single species that would bring in most export revenues, followed by saithe and salmon, which began to rise in earnest from 2008 and onwards. Since 2010, however, North Atlantic mackerel has represented the fastest growing sales, reaching 827 m dkk (110.9 m eur) in 2012. This year, meanwhile, Atlanto-Scandian herring and blue whiting catch and export figures are expected to rise sharply.

Nordic Cool: Impressive in DC

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Nordic Cool: Impressive in DC pp 12-13 In Washington DC, Faroese artists leave a footprint at a Kennedy Center festival highlighting Nordic theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, cuisine, and film.

In February this year (2013), Faroese artists, musicians, and designers traveled to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to participate in the center’s Nordic Cool Festival. The month-long event featured art installations, performances, and panel discussions from eight Nordic countries and territories — Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland Islands.

Eivoer thrilled a large crowd during her performance at the Millennium Stage, mixing old and new material for an audience that was equal parts devoted fans and curious onlookers. Later that same week, Kristian Blak’s band, Yggdrasil, played a pair of shows in an upstairs venue that was christened “The Cool Club” for the duration of the festival. Blak, who is well into his 60s, showed no signs of slowing down during the shows, at one point jumping off the stage while impersonating a sea bird.

Like None Other

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Like None Other pp 8-9 Plenty of air, plenty of time — an American learns a lesson or two about the Faroe Islands and the people who inhabit the country, including how a unique mix of tradition and modernity makes an irresistible appeal to visitors.

We landed at Vagar Airport early on a July evening  and were immediately struck by how clean the air tasted while walking the tarmac to the terminal. It was the kind of clean, crisp air that people who live in cities like Los Angeles pay good money to breathe in special bars. I was in the Faroes on a 10-day mission to document as much of the islands and their people as I could for a podcast I produce about the islands. I work primarily in audio, but I was traveling with a Norwegian-born videographer who worked in Hollywood and had never been to the Faroe Islands before.

I had spent the previous two years obsessively studying maps and photos and reading anything about the country I could get my hands on. Thomas, on the other hand, only knew the Faroes as a place where Norwegians sometimes had to spend a day or two while on a cruise to somewhere else.